Application Process

1. How do I apply for a grant from the Parsons Foundation?

The Parsons Foundation accepts Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) via our online application portal. Please visit our “How to Apply” page for more details.

2. What are the deadlines for grant proposals?

The Parsons Foundation accepts Letters of Inquiry (LOIs) at any time throughout the year. Initial review by Foundation staff is completed within six weeks. Organizations with the most competitive LOIs will be invited to submit full proposals, which are due 60 days following an invitation.

3. When and how will I know if my proposal has been accepted or rejected?

All applicants receive written communication regarding their requests. Our goal is to respond to LOIs within six weeks. Invited full proposals typically take six months from date of receipt to receive a funding decision.

4. Are grant guidelines available?

Downloadable versions of our LOI and Full Proposal applications are available on our “How to Apply” page, along with instructions for submitting an application through our online application portal.

5. Can you help us write the grant proposal?

We encourage applicants to follow our guidelines in preparing proposals and to call if you have questions. You might consider the resources of the Center for Nonprofit Management or The Grantsmanship Center.

6. Can we meet with someone to discuss a possible proposal?

Due to limited staff resources, the Foundation rarely meets with applicants prior to the submission of written materials. If you have thoroughly reviewed the website and still have questions, you are welcome to call the Foundation at 213.362.7600 and speak with a program officer.

7. Is there a person responsible for handling grants in specific areas of funding?

Our program officers are not assigned to specific areas but are broadly knowledgeable about the nonprofit community. Each request is treated independently, and it is likely that an organization will work with several program officers over a period of years.

8. Do you require a Letter of Inquiry (LOI) before submitting a proposal? What if my organization has received funding from the Foundation before?

Yes. All applicants must first submit an LOI, regardless of previous funding history. Please access our online application portal here to begin your LOI.

9. May we submit additional Letters of Inquiry for different projects within the same year?

No. Due to our resource constraints, the Foundation can only consider one request per 12-month period for a given organization.

10. Should we wait to hear from you before applying to others?

No. It is a good idea to submit applications to multiple sources of funding.

11. Our proposal was declined. Can you tell us why?

Competition for grant funds is intense and a number of factors determine if a proposal is declined. Frequently, it is due to our limited resources. The staff and Board look for exemplary programs and projects that best meet the Foundation’s areas of interest. You are welcome to call the Foundation and ask to speak with a program officer regarding a declined request.

12. We recently submitted a Letter of Inquiry and were declined. May we re-submit?

Another request is eligible for consideration 12 months from the date provided in the declination letter.

13. If we are invited to submit a full proposal, what kinds of supporting documentation will we be asked to submit?

A downloadable version of our Full Proposal application is available on our “How to Apply” page, along with instructions for submitting an application through our online application portal.

14. Should we include letters of support or newspaper articles with our proposal?

While they are not necessary, you are welcome to include letters or articles if you feel that they would strengthen your request.

15. Will you pay us a site visit?

A high priority is placed on contact with applicant agencies. Site visits are conducted when a proposal is under active review. Foundation staff will contact you to schedule the visit.

16. How soon can we reapply?

Before reapplying, your organization must wait until the full grant cycle has concluded and submit a final report by the due date provided in your grant agreement. If your request has been declined, your organization is eligible to reapply 12 months after the date of declination.

Funding Criteria and Types of Support

17. What kinds of organizations do you fund?

The Parsons Foundation makes grants to public charities serving Los Angeles County. We do not make grants to individuals.

18. Where does the Foundation make grants? What are Service Planning Areas (SPAs) in Los Angeles County?

The Foundation funds nonprofit organizations providing services throughout Los Angeles County. The County is divided into eight geographic regions known as Service Planning Areas (SPAs), which the Foundation uses to better understand its grantmaking. Please refer to this map on the Department of Public Health’s website for a breakdown of the County’s SPAs.

19. We are a new organization and do not yet have 501(c)3 status. May we still apply?

Agencies with a “preliminary ruling” letter from the IRS are eligible. You might investigate linking with an existing agency that would agree to serve as a “fiscal agent” for your request. Another alternative is Community Partners , which serves as an incubator for new nonprofit efforts.

20. Will the Parsons Foundation consider loans?

Loans, or program related investments, are not considered.

21. What types of funding support do you provide?

The Foundation makes unrestricted grants for general operating expenses as well as grants for program or capital needs. The Foundation prefers to see capital requests near the end of a campaign.

22. Are there areas in which you do not make grants?

We are limited geographically to work within Los Angeles County. Additionally, a list of program areas that we do not fund can be found here.

23. Does the Foundation award multi-year funding?

Rarely. A particularly compelling need for multi-year support must be articulated.

24. Where can we find a list of representative grants the Foundation has recently made?

You may access information about grants made by the Foundation in the last three years in our searchable grants database.

25. How many grants are awarded each year?

Approximately 250-300.

26. What is the median grant award?

The median grant award is $50,000. Grants rarely exceed 10% of an organization’s project or budget costs.

Grant Reporting

27. How do we submit a final report?

Please visit our Reporting Guidelines page for our report guidelines and how to submit.

28. How will I know if you received my final report?

We acknowledge receipt of every report via e-mail.

29. Can we report early?

If your project concludes before the end of your full grant cycle, you may submit a final report early. However, you are not eligible to reapply until the full grant cycle has concluded.

We’re a responsive grant maker, helping LA County organizations do their best work.